Award will extend financial development services and lending to families
and businesses in economically-distressed markets
Little Rock, Ark. – Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP), a 501(c)(3) loan fund and financial development organization working in partnership with Southern Bancorp to create economic opportunity in some of the nation’s most economically distressed and underserved markets, has been awarded $2 million, the maximum available under the Financial Assistance program of the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund. The competitive awards, which are presented after a rigorous evaluation based on a CDFI’s abilities and success in providing financial access to underserved communities, totaled just over $185 million to 196 organizations this year.
“We are honored to have once again been selected as a CDFI Fund award recipient,” said Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc. “These awards are critical to the mission of financial organizations like SBCP that are working to increase access to capital and financially strengthen families in low-income communities. Our sincerest thanks go to U.S. Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. French Hill for their advocacy in favor of both this financial support and the industry as a whole.”
“This is an important investment that will expand opportunities for job creation, improve financial literacy, and ultimately, create a better quality of life for Arkansans,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman.
“This award will benefit our underserved communities in Arkansas and be helpful toward the mission of giving all Arkansans the ability to pursue their dreams,” said U.S. Rep. French Hill. “We need good policies from Washington that help consumers and families that badly need access to credit. In my role on the House Financial Services Committee, I am working to put forth policy ideas will help institutions like SBCP create upward mobility and stimulate our Nation’s economy by providing capital to all Americans, including those in low-income communities.”
In years past, Southern Bancorp and Southern Bancorp Community Partners have used these awards to increase lending throughout their markets, and this award will allow SBCP to do that and more.
“Not only will SBCP be able to extend its lending to more of those individuals and businesses whose needs fall outside the lines of traditional bank lending,” said Dominik Mjartan, CEO of SBCP and Executive Vice President of Southern Bancorp, Inc. “But this award will also allow us to extend our unique blend of financial development services such as credit and homebuyer counseling, financial education and free tax preparation to more of the markets served by Southern Bancorp, thereby ensuring that more people have the tools to increase their economic mobility and move into the financial mainstream.”
Over the last decade, 63 Arkansas-based financial institutions have received awards from the CDFI Fund. This year, one other Arkansas CDFI, the Bank of Lake Village, was awarded $700,000.
About Southern Bancorp
Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization; and Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks; were founded in 1986 by then Governor Bill Clinton, Walmart Chair Rob Walton, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and others who were concerned about the economic decline of rural Arkansas. All three entities are U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) collectively known as “Southern.” With $1.1 billion in assets, 80,000 customers and 42 branches in Arkansas and Mississippi, Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities; empowers them to improve their lives; and helps them transform their communities. Learn more about Southern on the web at www.banksouthern.com & www.southernpartners.org.
About the CDFI Fund
Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $2.2 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through the CDFI Program, the NACA Program, the Bank Enterprise Award Program, the Capital Magnet Fund, and the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $43.5 billion in tax credit allocation authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, and $852 million has been guaranteed in bonds through the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program. Learn more about the CDFI Fund and its programs at www.cdfifund.gov.